Events, News

Healthy Grounds Leads to Healthy Hounds

Local environmental and pet advocacy groups combine to raise awareness about rising canine cancer rates.

Keeping man’s best friend healthy requires proper exercise, nutrition and… lawn care.

“Dogs love digging in the dirt, rolling around in the grass and licking their paws. These behaviors unfortunately can result in adverse health outcomes if using synthetic pesticides to manage your lawn,” explained Ryan Anderson, the Community Manager for the non-profit IPM Institute of North America.

Anderson leads IPM Institute’s Midwest Grows Green (MGG) sustainable landscaping initiative that prioritizes halting the increase in canine cancer rates. Multiple peer-reviewed studies have measured higher canine malignant lymphoma (CML) risk in dogs exposed to lawns treated with 2,4-D. 2,4-D is the active ingredient in Scott’s Turfbuilder Weed and Feed and many other lawn herbicides.

“Cancer rates continue to rise, and cancer is increasingly diagnosed at earlier ages in both dogs and cats,” said Karen Leslie the Executive Director of California based non-profit The Pet Fund. “Using pesticide-free lawn care methods can help reduce the incidence of cancer in pets by minimizing the exposure to carcinogenic chemicals.”

The Pet Fund provides critically needed veterinary care funds to pet owning families. Since its founding in 2003, The Pet Fund’s requests for cancer treatment have increased from 20% of applications to 60%. These aid costs are significant given that The Pet Fund received 72,460 total applications in 2020 and the bill for cancer treatment of pets can reach $10,000.

MGG helps achieve better outcomes for pets by motivating their owners to adopt more sustainable lawn care practices. This engagement starts with MGG’s inaugural Hounds & Grounds canine cancer awareness fundraiser that invites dog owners to bring their furry friends to Canine Therapy Corps for an introductory dog agility course experience led by Hawk City K9.

“All healthy dogs can benefit from and enjoy learning these new, fun skills,” said Hawk City K9’s owner Stacey Hawk. “It’s a win-win for everyone by combining my agility training with MGG’s education about how we can reduce pesticide applications that can severely jeopardize your pet’s health.”

Hawk City K9’s Stacey Hawk and her dogs.

During Hounds & Grounds on Sunday, February 20th, Hawk and her team of trainers will guide dogs and their owners through the agility course and MGG’s Anderson will present expert insights on natural lawn care and pesticide risk reduction.  Attendees will receive goodie bags and refreshments from Hounds & Grounds sponsors that include Athletic Brewing Co., PetSmart and Good Nature Organic Lawn Care.

Space for Hounds & Grounds is limited at Contact IPM Institute’s Ryan Anderson at with any questions.

About Midwest Grows Green

Midwest Grows Green is an initiative of the IPM Institute of North America, Inc. that educates and empowers citizens to take sustainable landscaping action that reduces harmful runoff into our waterways, protects the health of our most vulnerable citizens and reduces negative impacts of pesticides on non-target species such as pollinators and pets. The IPM Institute is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit started in 1998 that improves sustainability in agriculture and communities through market mechanisms based in Integrated Pest Management.

About Hawk City K9

Hawk City K9 offers fun, positive motivational reward-based agility, obedience/manners and nose work training to domestic canines.  Hawk City K9’s owner Stacey Hawk has extensive dog agility training and advocacy experience.  Hawk helped push forward the first-ever Chicago and Cook County dog park, Wiggly Field Dog Friendly Area, and co-founded Safe Humane Chicago.

About The Pet Fund

The Pet Fund was founded in 2003 as a national nonprofit dedicated to funding veterinary care for those who could not afford it. The purpose and mission of The Pet Fund is to work towards a future where decisions about companion animal medical care need never be made on the basis of cost.

About Athletic Brewing Company

Athletic Brewing Co. is a non-alcoholic beer company dedicated to making great-tasting craft brews, without compromise. Athletic’s mission is to positively impact their customers’ health, fitness and happiness while greatly impacting their communities and environment for the better.

Tags: , , , , , ,